Women of Valor



Rebecca Gratz, 1781 - 1869

"The crowning happiness of my days has been my association with my beloved companions [the teachers and managers of the Hebrew Sunday School] in the duties we have shared together."

Rebecca Gratz died on August 27, 1869. Although she outlived all but her youngest sibling, Benjamin, most of her friends, and many of her nieces and nephews, she remained actively involved on the boards of the Philadelphia Orphan Society, Female Hebrew Benevolent Society, Hebrew Sunday School and Jewish Foster Home well into her eighties. Gratz's enduring legacy can be measured by the success and longevity of the many institutions she founded. The Philadelphia Orphan Society and Female Association provided material sustenance to thousands of women and children. The Jewish Foster Home thrived until it eventually merged with other institutions to create the Philadelphia Association for Jewish Children. The Female Hebrew Benevolent Society and Hebrew Sunday School continued their work for almost 150 years. In 1986, the flourishing School merged with the Talmud Torah Schools of Philadelphia and continues to provide coeducational Jewish learning for thousands of young students. As historian Dianne Ashton writes, "By training younger Jewish women in administering the agencies she founded, Gratz ensured that the FHBS, HSS and JFH would continue to flourish long after her death. In their work, these organizations continued to provide Jewish women and children a way to be both fully Jewish and fully American."

  1. "The crowning happiness..." From the Minutes of the Hebrew Sunday School, 1860-1880. The Jacob Rader Marcus Center at the American Jewish Archives Cincinnati Campus, Hebew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, OH.
  2. "By training younger..." Ashton, Dianne Rebecca Gratz. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press 1997).

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Rebecca Gratz - Legacy." (Viewed on April 19, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/gratz/legacy>.